April 12, 2009
Akron, Ohio - Despite scoring seven runs in the first two innings, the Northern Illinois baseball team fell to Akron 10-9 on Sunday afternoon at Lee R. Jackson Field in Mid-American Conference action as the Zips (9-23, 6-6 MAC) used a six-run third inning to rally past the Huskies (11-21, 4-7 MAC) to complete the series sweep.
Trailing 7-3 entering the third, the Zips rallied to tally five of the six runs in the inning with two outs. After Ryan Frazee grounded out to shortstop to score Brett Savage, who was hit by a pitch, Jake Plata started the rally with a double. John Turk then followed with an RBI single before Phil Bednar was hit by a pitch to set up Kevin Haas, who tripled to score a pair. Then Brandon White doubled to score Haas and Matt Roberts gave the Zips another triple to score White before Tom Zelasko (Lansing, Ill./Mt. Carmel) came in to retire Savage on a grounder to second.
"We gave away too many free passes and fell behind too many hitters," said NIU head coach Ed Mathey. "We came out and scored seven in the first two innings and then all of a sudden we're behind. We can't give away that many free passes to a team like this. It's pretty disappointing."
Zelasko then cruised through the next five innings, giving up just one unearned run in the sixth on a double play ball, to allow the Huskies to try to comeback, and they did in the ninth only to fall one run short.
"Tom Zelasko needed to slow them down and we went to him hoping that he would," Mathey said. "He did a great job today. He was throwing strikes and keeping them off balance. He gave us a chance to win."
Pat Minogue (Crystal Lake, Ill./Central) started the ninth with a single, but was forced out at second on Alex Jones' (Kansas City, Kan./Piper) grounder to second. Joe Buonavolanto (Willowbrook, Ill./Hinsdale South) reached on the next play after being hit by a pitch by Akron starter Benjamin Danziger. NIU then loaded the bases on the next play with a Jordin Hood (Hawthorn Woods, Ill./Lake Zurich) infield single to third. Dave Reynolds (Orland Park, Ill./Sandburg) followed with a two-run single to put the game-tying run on third and the go-ahead run on first, but Justin Behm (Downers Grove, Ill./North) fouled out to first base for the second out. Reynolds then stole second to move the go-ahead run even closer, but Joe Etcheverry (Bakersfield, Calif./Centennial) went down swinging to end the game.
"Then in the ninth we did a nice job, but came up a little short," Mathey said. "Our guys in the middle of the order did a good job all weekend, but unfortunately we couldn't get it done in that situation. To comeback and fight was good for our kids. We did that all weekend, but had just too many large deficits to overcome."
Danziger (2-3) picked up the win after lasting 8.1 innings, surrendering nine earned runs on 10 hits and a walk with seven strikeouts, while Ryne Romick (3) earned the save by getting the last two outs and giving up a hit along with getting a strikeout. NIU starter Kyle Glancy (Oak Park, Ill./Oak Park-River Forest) took the loss (0-1) as he gave up nine earned runs on seven hits and four walks in 2.2 innings. Zelasko pitched a career-high 5.1 innings, allowing just two hits and two walks with a career-best three strikeouts.
Roberts paced the Akron offense with three hits in three at-bats with a walk, an RBI and a run scored. Frazee and Haas each drove in a pair of runs as Hass also had a hit and scored a run. White tallied a hit, a walk, an RBI and scored three runs, while Plata and Turk each had two hits, scored a run, walked and drove in a run.
Minogue and Reynolds led the NIU offense as Minogue tied a season-high with three hits and scored a run, while Reynolds tied a career-high with five RBI on three hits along with scoring a run and stealing a base. Jones went 2-for-5 with three runs. Hood had a hit in three at-bats and scored two runs. Troy White (Chicago, Ill./Whitney Young) added an RBI single and Buonavolanto had an RBI and scored two runs.
The Huskies open a five-game homestand on Tuesday at 3:05 p.m. with a contest against intrastate rival Illinois State (15-10, 5-4 Missouri Valley Conference) at Ralph McKinzie Field where NIU is 5-1 this season.
- NIU has scored at least one run in the first inning of 14 games and has done so in three of the last four.
- The Huskies totaled 10 or more hits for the 17th time and have done so in each of the last three games.
- NIU has had a player get multiple hits in all but three games this season, led by Hood's 15.
- Minogue moved into sixth place on NIU's all-time games played list (189) and ninth on the doubles list (33).
- Reynolds has tallied at least three RBI in each of the last three games.
- Hood has an eight-game hitting streak.